What is a productive way that students can work together? Collaborative learning activities allow students to collaborate and to learn. Three examples are the jigsaw strategy, group investigation, and double journal.
Collaborative Learning Examples
Collaborative learning activities can help students to develop problem solving and group work skills. There are many types of collaborative activities that students can complete. However, teachers should be prepared to have some talking and movement in the classroom for these activities.
One simple activity that you can do with a variety of content is the jigsaw activity. The content or reading assignment is a metaphor for a "puzzle" that students break into smaller pieces to learn.
- "Puzzles" or groups can be small, such as four to six students. Each student will be given a piece of the puzzle to learn or to investigate. For example, a long reading assignment can be broken into six smaller "chunks." Each student will take a chunk and become an expert on the content.
- When the pieces of the "puzzle" are put together or when the group comes back together, each student will share what he or she learned.
- After the group has its information organized and compiled, it can share its knowledge with the class.
Situations to use the jigsaw strategy:
- Covering a great deal of content in a textbook
- Researching a new concept or idea
- Learning new vocabulary from a list
- Learning Greek and Latin Roots
When a group investigates a new topic, it can be very fun, and the group will take ownership of the topic and the presentation. The teacher should select a broad topic, such as the Civil War.
- The group of three-to-five students should narrow the topic down to a topic that they could research. Then, the group will share the information in around a five-to-ten minute presentation, depending on the age of the student.
- The group will need to assign each person a subtopic of the group topic to research.
- The group will come back together to share and organize the information.
- The group will present its information to the class.
Double Entry Journal
A double entry journal can be completed with a pair of students. Students can each make one on their own. Then, the pair can collaborate and compile their ideas into one double entry journal. Teachers can use this with novels, textbook reading assignments, news articles, research information, etc.
- Students need to create a large T on a piece of notebook paper.
- On one side the student needs to write down interesting or important information from the reading assignment.
- On the other side, the student needs to write what he or she thinks about the information.
- When the journal is complete, the student needs to share his or her journal with another student.
- The students need to compile one journal with information that the pair believes is important or intriguing.
The jigsaw activity, group investigation and double entry journal are just three ways that students can collaborate and learn important content. The best part is that students are bouncing ideas off each other and helping create interesting products.